Happening Today

New Year holiday

The week starts with a day off as the New Year holiday is officially observed today, 1 p.m.

Dems on Obamacare

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats hold a conference call to discuss the future of the Affordable Care Act, 1 p.m.

Islamic-American Relations

Dr. John Robbins, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the Council of Islamic American Relations, is a scheduled guest on “NightSide” with host Dan Rea, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Manhunt: Suspect in armory theft still at large

As Mark Sullivan at the Telegram puts it: “The search for an escaped prisoner from Rhode Island on Sunday had echoes of the movie ‘The Fugitive.’” It certainly did. And James Morales, the Cambridge suspect in the theft of weapons from the U.S. Army Reserve armory in Worcester, was still at large this morning amid a massive federal and state manhunt. Considered highly dangerous, Morales is believed to be in Massachusetts – or was in Massachusetts as of yesterday. The Herald and MassLive have more on the daring weekend escape and ensuing all-out search for Morales.

The Telegram

Democrats’ zero-sum fears of courting whites

Democrats lost a majority of the majority – both male and female whites – and thus lost the White House to Donald Trump. But some Democrats, particularly members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are still reluctant to reach out to working-class whites, who used to form the bedrock of the Democratic Party, reports the Globe’s Astead Herndon. Their fear? That the black caucus and others members of the “diverse constituency” might lose clout within the party. In order words, they view it as a zero-sum game: Their gain is our loss. But is anyone really saying that Dems should “abandon” minorities and that courting working-class whites should be the “primary” focus of Dems? We haven’t heard that. But that’s apparently the zero-sum fear.

Boston Globe

GOP Congress seek to dismantle Dem programs dating back to FDR

As Democrats play king of the hill within the narrow confines of their own party, David Weigel of the Washington Post reports how the new GOP-controlled Congress, which gets sworn in this week, is now “eyeing the most ambitious conservative policy agenda since the 1920s. And rather than a Democratic president standing in the way, a soon-to-be-inaugurated Donald Trump seems ready to sign much of it into law.”

Washington Post

Brianna Wu goes after working-class Lynch

As noted, some Dems appear to be more concerned about who’s the king of the Democratic hill than preserving the legacy of Democratic presidents dating back to FDR. So they’ll probably be cheering the decision by Brianna Wu, a Democrat and software engineer made famous for taking on the Gamergate crowd, to run against U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, the South Boston Democrat, former steel worker and union representative who’s angered many liberals for being too “conservative,” according to an AP report at NBC Boston. Onward, Democrats!

NBC Boston

Howie’s daughter asks Trump for White House internship – and gets it

The New York Times appears to confirm what Howie Carr writes in his Herald column this morning: Howie’s daughter asked President-elect Donald Trump at a New Year’s Eve bash, held at Trump’s swanky Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, for a White House internship – and Trump personally granted it. Howie’s other daughter is also in line for a White House gig, Howie brags.


Advocates decry planned $13.7M cut in long-term elder care

From Kathleen McKiernan at the Herald: “Home health care agencies may take a hit under a Baker administration proposal to save $13.7 million by cutting back on MassHealth funding that pays for long-term at-home care — a change advocates are decrying as harmful to poor elders.” The move, outlined in public hearing notice published late last week (just prior to the long holiday weekend, of course), includes a 6.75 percent rate reduction for skilled nursing services.

Boston Herald

After 42 years as Hampden County Sheriff, Michael J. Ashe Jr. finally bows out

Patrick Johnson at MassLive and Laura Crimaldi at the Globe both have pieces on Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr.’s departure from office this week after 42 extraordinary years as head of the department. What an amazing run.

Gardner cashes in on donated Rockwell

The city of Gardner has distributed the first round of grants funded with the sale proceeds of a WWII Norman Rockwell painting donated to the city’s then-high school principal more than 60 years ago, George Barnes of the Telegram reports. The city sold “Willie Gillis in Convoy”—which previously hung on the wall of Gardner High School—in 2014 for $1.9 million and distributed the first tranche of $50,000 worth of interest in the form of grants to local schools.  

The Telegram

Baker’s move leaves lawmakers in pay pickle

Gov. Baker may have approved a 4.2 percent increase in pay for legislators and constitutional officers, but the governor has left them in a political pickle by his declining his own pay increase during tough budget times, the Herald’s Matt Stout reports. Attorney General Maura Healey says she’s going to accept the raise, but Auditor Suzanne Bump and Secretary of State William Galvin say they haven’t decided. Treasurer Deb Goldberg hadn’t responded as of late last week.

Boston Herald

Metrowest lawmakers outline their ’17 priorities

State Sens. Jamie Eldridge, Ryan Fattman, Richard Ross and Karen Spilka and state Reps. David Linsky, Danielle Gregoire, Jeff Roy and Chris Walsh outline their political priorities for 2017, as reported by Brian Benson of the MetroWest Daily News at Wicked Local. Among the issues they’re eyeing are criminal justice reform, the state budget, marijuana legalization, human trafficking, expansion of the housing court, “electronic backpacks” for foster children, financial literacy and other diverse issues.

Wicked Local

Minimum wage may not stop at $11, if activists have their way

As of yesterday, the minimum wage rose to $11 an hour in Massachusetts, the highest among states in the country, reports WBUR. But it may not stop there, as unions push for a $15 minimum wage in Massachusetts and elsewhere, the Globe reports, noting that workers are happy but that some local businesses are groaning under the wage pressure. The Wall Street Journal (pay wall) also takes a look at the state’s latest minimum-wage hike.

Baker signs pot-delay bill amid small protest

This wasn’t a surprise. From SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Newburport Daily News : “Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday signed a law pushing back the schedule for retail marijuana operations in Massachusetts by six months, a move announced as about a dozen protesters gathered outside the State House to condemn the delay.” From Baker spokeswoman Lizzy Guyto: “The Baker-Polito Administration has been clear that it shares the Legislature’s desire to thoroughly prepare for launching an entirely new industry distributing a controlled substance and is committed to adhering to the will of the voters by implementing the new law as effectively and responsibly as possible.” 

Newburyport Daily News

Tito’s emerging tale-of-two-cities theme

City Councilor Tito Jackson appears poised to run a haves-verus-haves-not mayoral campaign similar to the pitch made by Bill de Blasio in his successful bid for mayor of New York, reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson. Tito’s camp has hired Bill Hyers, de Blasio’s campaign manager, who is now working with New York -based Acres Media on a campaign video for Jackson. Acres Media has also made ads for de Blasio, Atkinson writes.

Boston Herald

Despite Trust Act, Boston police turned in immigrants

Boston police turned nine immigrants over to federal agents at Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2015, using a loophole in the city’s Trust Act that advocates worry will be in play again now that Donald Trump is about to become president, Maria Sacchetti of the Globe reports. 

Boston Globe

Will 2017 bring flood of public records requests?

Officials in some cities and towns worry that the update to the state’s public records law that went into effect on Sunday could bring a flood of new requests, Rick Sobey of the Lowell Sun reports. But most communities have already designated “records access officers” and say they are prepared to handle the law’s updates, which include shifting the cost of some record collection and preparation to municipalities. 

Lowell Sun

Vineyard goes (mostly) bag-free

The new year brought plastic shopping bag bans into effect in a number of Massachusetts communities, including nearly the entire island of Martha’s Vineyard. All six towns considered bag bans last year and the measures passed in all except for Oak Bluffs, where pushback from the business community helped derail the effort by the Vineyard Conservation Society to banish the bags from the island entirely, Ethan Genter of the Cape Cod Times reports. 

Cape Cod Times

Today’s Headlines


Despite Trust Act, police handed over immigrants for deportation – Boston Globe

An old—and cold–tradition renewed in South Boston – Boston Globe


Gardner distributes grants from sale of Normal Rockwell painting – Telegram & Gazette

Records law changes could spark increase in requests – Lowell Sun

Dems hope to tie Baker to Trump – Associated Press

As minimum wage rises, some employers cut back – Boston Globe

Moulton reflects on first term – Salem News

Vineyard mostly plastic-bag free in 2017 – Cape Cod Times

The winding road to a Wampanoag casino – Cape Cod Times

Austerity trips up DCR – Berkshire Eagle

Trash debate coming to a head on Beacon Hill – CommonWealth Magazine


GOP Congress maps plan for sweeping conservative agenda – Washington Post

Coal country picked Trump. Now they want him to keep his promises – NPR

Weak federal powers could limit Trump’s climate-policy rollback – New York Times

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